The 2022 Walter Awards were announced this morning, with SCBWI members Angeline Boulley and Rajani LaRocca taking top prizes.
Created by We Need Diverse Books in 2016, the Walter Awards honor the legacy of Walter Dean Myers. Before his death in 2014, Myers was on the SCBWI Advisory Council and authored Scorpions, Jazz, Darius & Twig, Somewhere in the Darkness, and over one hundred other books for children and teens. He was a five-time Coretta Scott King Award winner, three-time National Book Award finalist, two-time Newbery Honoree, and winner of the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award for his landmark novel Monster in 1999. To honor his legacy of inclusion and championing marginalized voices, WNDB created the Walter Awards to “recognize diverse authors whose works feature diverse main characters and address diversity in a meaningful way.”
Angeline Boulley won the 2022 Walter Award in the Teen category for Firekeeper’s Daughter (Henry Holt & Co.), a searing thriller about hockey, violence, and cultural identity, set on an Ojibwe reservation in Northern Michigan. Firekeeper’s Daughter is also a New York Times Bestseller, a TIME Magazine Best YA Book of All Time Selection, and will soon be adapted into a Netflix series. Angeline Boulley was previously a speaker at the SCBWI Big Five-Oh Summer Conference in 2021.
The winner in the Younger Reader Category was Rajani LaRocca for Red, White, and Whole (Quill Tree Books). LaRocca’s novel-in-verse is a moving tale for middle grade readers that follows an Indian American girl as she copes with her mother’s leukemia diagnosis. Red, White, and Whole was a New England Book Award Winner, and selected by the Washington Post and the New York Public Library as one of the best books of 2021.
The 2022 Walter Award Honors in the Teen Category were Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (Dutton Books for Young Readers) and Revolution in Our Time by Kekla Magoon (Candlewick); in the Younger Readers category, the Honor books were Borders by Thomas King, illustrated by Natasha Donovan (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), and Root Magic by Eden Royce (Walden Pond Press).
The Walter Awards ceremony is scheduled for March 11, 2022, and will be livestreamed from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC (pending COVID guidelines). SCBWI offers congratulations to these talented creators and their powerful books.